Friday, 19 September 2008
Sean Connery launches new film
promoting Scotland and Scottish golf
By: Murdoch MacDonald
A FILM aimed at encouraging thousands of golfers to come to Scotland next year to join the Homecoming 2009 celebrations has been officially premiered at the Ryder Cup in Kentucky.
Acting legend Sir Sean Connery has provided the voiceover to the film, which also promotes Scotland’s position as host to the Ryder Cup in 2014 and Scotland's hosting of The Open Championship at Turnberry in Ayrshire next year.
Watch the film: CLICK HERE
The film “Scotland: the Home of Golf” has been developed by EventScotland and VisitScotland to promote Scotland’s golfing product and showcase the country’s reputation and heritage as the birthplace of golf to a global audience.
Helping launch the film in America, Enterprise Minister Jim Mather said the US is Scotland’s number one market for golf visitors, with an annual estimate of 45,000 US golfers travelling to Scotland and spending £70 million. Golf tourism generally generates an estimated annual £160 million impact on Scotland’s economy.
Mr Mather also announced details of the “Homecoming Classics“, a series of five competitions at golf courses across Scotland which is set to attract hundreds of golfers from around the world.
And he said that Scottish golf clubs were signing up in growing numbers for “Drive it Home“, an innovative promotion offering visiting golfers a free four-ball slot at courses throughout the country.
First Minister Alex Salmond said: “In our drive to build economic opportunities in America, this film will be crucial in helping us to spread the message that Scotland, the home of golf, is ‘open for business.’
“Scotland is not immune from the global economic pressures, but we have significant opportunities to help boost economic growth in the Year of Homecoming 2009.
“Next year - the 250th anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns - provides a fantastic opportunity to invite people from around the world, whether they have a family link or an affinity for Scotland, to come home for our ‘Year of Homecoming‘.
“Scotland is the home of golf, and the sport is one of the centrepieces of our homecoming year.
“It is tremendous that Sir Sean Connery has provided the very distinctive and inspirational voiceover for our film. Hollywood’s big name producers couldn’t persuade him out of retirement, but Homecoming has!
“This film will be used by EventScotland, VisitScotland and all the other organisations involved in Homecoming 2009 to drive home the message that people should visit the home of golf not just next year but right up to and beyond the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles in 2014.
“For golfers who do visit next year, not only will they be able to watch top-class golf at The Open in Turnberry and at other prestigious tournaments, but they’ll get more opportunities to play our hundreds of courses than they’ve ever had before.
“Clubs the length and breadth of the country are signing up for ‘Drive it Home‘, from Championship courses such as the Dukes course at St Andrews and the new Championship standard Machrihanish Dunes in Kintyre to hidden gems such as Cragielaw in East Lothian and Peterculter Golf Club in the north-east.
“And the more competitive golfer can take part in the renamed ‘Homecoming Classics’ series, five 4-day events held at 20 courses across the country which will showcase the best of Scotland and contribute hundreds of thousands of pounds to the local economies.”
Having provided the voiceover, Sir Sean Connery said: “I’ve been a lifelong supporter of golf and Burns, so to combine the two in order to promote Scotland’s year of Homecoming was a real privilege. I hope that the film will do justice to Scotland’s reputation as the home of golf.”
VisitScotland’s chairman Peter Lederer, said: “We are sending an invitation to the world for golf enthusiasts to come and join us in our year long Homecoming celebrations next year.
“The golf DVD and ‘Drive it Home’ initiative gives us a chance to encourage international visitors to experience Scotland, the home of golf, first hand.
“‘Drive it Home’, which is just one of our Homecoming Scotland marketing initiatives, is the largest of its kind we have ever undertaken, giving us a chance to promote Scotland to hundreds of thousands of potential visitors in our key international markets.”
The ‘Drive it Home’ Promotion was developed by VisitScotland as its lead international golf promotion to support Homecoming Scotland 2009 and has the full endorsement of the Scottish Golf Union
‘Drive It Home’ will focus on Scotland’s lead international golf markets of the US, Canada and Sweden. The promotion will also roll-out across all other international Markets
The US is Scotland’s number one market for golf visitors, with an annual estimate of 45,000 US golfers travelling to Scotland and spending £70 million.
Golf tourism generates an estimated annual £160 million impact on Scotland’s economy.
The Homecoming Classics will see 20 golf courses involved across Scotland from Brora in the North Highlands to Dundonald Links in the south-west. Events spread across five areas - North Highlands, Moray Firth, Fife, Ayrshire and East Lothian. The tournaments will have places for more than 1200 golfers. The events tee off in April all the way through to October.
Homecoming Classics will involve partnership with more than 75 different accommodation providers from resort hotels to self-catering properties and will utilise up to 6000 bed nights in quieter tourism periods.
Homecoming Scotland is funded by the Scottish Government and is managed by EventScotland, the national events agency, in partnership with VisitScotland, the country's national tourism agency. It aims to engage Scots at home as well as motivate people of Scottish descent and those who simply love Scotland, to take part in an inspirational celebration of our culture, heritage and some of the many great contributions Scotland has given to the world.
2009 marks the 250th anniversary of the birth of Scotland's national poet, Robert Burns, with the programme’s design guided by Scotland’s unique position as the home of Burns himself, Golf, Whisky, Great Minds and Innovations, and Scotland’s culture and heritage which lives on at home and through Scotland’s global family.
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Scots businessmen abroad urged to
beat worldwide economic downturn
By: Murdoch MacDonald
SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT Finance Secretary John Swinney today urged an international network of senior business leaders to help Scotland beat the global economic downturn during his visit to Hong Kong.
The Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth (pictured above) addressed the first GlobalScot Conference to be held in Hong Kong, which has been organised by Scottish Enterprise to bring together GlobalScots from the Asia and Pacific markets with Scottish companies looking to do business in the Far East.
GlobalScots are senior business leaders who have an affinity for Scotland and who want to contribute to and share in its economic success.
Mr Swinney said: “At a time when economies across the world are suffering due to the international downturn, Scotland must call on all the resources at its disposal to ensure our economy continues to show the resilience it has up to now.
“During my trip to Hong Kong I will be urging GlobalScots to keep doing what they do best - opening doors for Scottish companies across the world and selling our country as a great place to do business.
“Their efforts are already of great value to Scotland. We need them to continue to use their influence to encourage investment in Scotland and aid Scottish companies expanding internationally.”
Mr Swinney also said that the Year of Homecoming in 2009 presented a real chance to sell Scotland to tourists and business people across Asia and the world.
“While in Hong Kong and Shanghai I will be making sure everyone is well aware of the fantastic Year of Homecoming we are looking forward to in Scotland in 2009,” he said.
“What better time could there be to come to Scotland and experience all we have to offer? The GlobalScot network can help me deliver that message - and they might even decide to come and experience it for themselves.
“There is a real opportunity for us in the growing number of Chinese tourists travelling the world, and I believe the Year of Homecoming will be a crucial tool in helping us grasp that opportunity.”
There are 20 GlobalScot members in China and 150 in the Asia and Pacific market as a whole.
GlobalScot is a Scottish Enterprise led programme, and consists of an international network of 900 senior business leaders who have an affinity for Scotland and who want to contribute to and share in its economic success. Using their knowledge, experience and business contacts, GlobalScots can help open doors into areas where Scottish companies have few contacts and little experience, helping companies to save valuable time and money.
GlobalScot members have helped thousands of Scottish organisations with their growth plans by providing advice, support and inspiration and Mr Swinney's visit coincides with this year's GlobalScot conference in Hong Kong. The event is being organised by Scottish Enterprise and will bring together GlobalScots from the Asia and Pacific markets with Scottish organisations looking to do business in the Far East. The Hong Kong Globalscot conference aims to continue the success of similar GlobalScot conferences in New York in 2007 and the inaugural event in Edinburgh in 2006.
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Scottish Minister Jim Mather takes Scotland to heart of America
By: Murdoch MacDonald
SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT Enterprise Minister Jim Mather will meet with over 100 US business leaders on a four-day visit to the US.
A series of engagements in Kentucky and Chicago will provide opportunities to present Scotland as a competitive business destination, a global leader in the development of renewable technologies and - ahead of the year of Homecoming Scotland - the home of golf.
Jim Mather (pictured above) will meet with representatives of major companies to develop links between Scotland and the USA and host two events at the Ryder Cup in Louisville for key business figures.
The Minister will introduce the premiere of a new promotional film, voiced over by Sir Sean Connery, highlighting Scotland’s reputation as the home of golf. The US is Scotland’s largest market for golf visitors, with an estimated 45,000 visitors travelling to Scotland annually, spending some £70 million.
In Chicago Mr Mather will meet with Mayor Richard Daley to discuss development of renewable technologies. Chicago aims to be the most environmentally friendly city in the US through the development of green construction and renewables.
Speaking ahead of his programme, Mr Mather said: “Scotland is a nation looking ahead to the future full of optimism and ambition - and with a Government determined to increase sustainable economic growth.
“It is important that we take the ‘Scotland is open for business’ message to America. I’ll be meeting with a number of businesses who are already investing in Scotland or looking to open up new opportunities. More and more businesses are recognising that Scotland has the edge. and my message to them will be clear: Scotland is the place to invest.
“Now and next year - our Year of Homecoming - visitors to Scotland will be able to see for themselves just how much our country has to offer and its great potential.
“Not only a wonderful country to visit, but a tremendous place to do business.
“The programme we are pursuing in Kentucky and Chicago will let us take that message right to the heart of America.
“This visit provides an excellent opportunity to promote Scotland as the birthplace of golf in the build-up to next year’s Homecoming as we look forward to the Open Championship at Turnberry in 2009 and Gleneagles hosting the Ryder Cup in 2014.”
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Thursday, 18 September 2008
HBOS bank takeover by Lloyds TSB and its effects
By: Murdoch MacDonald
THE Scottish Parliament today heard First Minister Alex Salmond promise to “strain every sinew and fight to the last” to protect bank jobs and decision-making functions within the Scottish economy in the wake of the takeover of Halifax Bank of Scotland (HBOS) by Lloyds TSB.
At First Minister’s Question Time in the Holyrood chamber, the First Minister (pictured above) said there were 7,000 Lloyds TSB employees in Scotland and 17,000 HBOS staff.
Listen to the full podcast of FMQs: CLICK HERE
Mr Salmond had spoken to both unions and banks and had called an emergency meeting of the Finance Services Industry Advisory Board for next Tuesday to discuss the situation.
Mr Salmond told MSPs: “We have to ask did this necessarily have to happen? Was it inevitable that a 300 year-old institution in Scotland, and all it means to the Scottish economy, should be laid low in the manner it is? I do not believe it had to happen. I believe it is a soundly based institution. Only yesterday the Financial Services Authority described it in these terms.
“It was laid low by the actions of speculators in the money markets, and action must be taken against them. Other financial institutions will be targeted unless restraints are made to short selling. Short selling is when people enter into selling shares they have absolutely no title to whatsoever, and do it with the aim of making a speculative profit over other people’s misery.
“I understand Russia has outlawed it, and that America has suspended it. I would urge our financial authorities to follow suit.”
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Tuesday, 16 September 2008
South Ayrshire Council’s Celebration of Achievement Ceremony
SOUTH AYRSHIRE COUNCIL Provost Winifred Sloan has presented Long Service Awards and Achievement Certificates to Council employees at a ceremony in a marquee in the grounds of Rozelle House.
Speaking about the event, Provost Sloan (pictured above) said: “This ceremony was a celebration of the diverse range of talents and achievements of Council employees. The employees I presented with Long Service Awards have given dedicated service to the Council and the people of South Ayrshire over many years. All of them have made a positive decision to work for the Council, and I thank them for all their hard work.
“The Achievement Certificates I presented acknowledged the time and effort employees have made to learn new skills or enhance their existing ones. The Council and the people of South Ayrshire will benefit from the employees achievements, as they use them to provide important services.”
There was plenty to celebrate, as this year 25 employees have achieved over 25 years of continuous service to the Council and the people of South Ayrshire. In addition 254 employees have successfully completed a training or development course. Each of the employees received an invitation to the Celebration of Achievement ceremony.
Provost Sloan presented employees at the ceremony that had over 25 years of service with a Long Service certificate and a gift voucher to mark the occasion. Employees present who had successfully completed a training or development course were presented with an Achievement Certificate by Provost Sloan.
All of the employees receiving awards work in one of the Council departments, either Chief Executive’s, Development, Safety & Regulation, Social Work, Housing & Health or Education, Culture & Lifelong Learning.
South Ayrshire Council chief executive David Anderson (pictured above) said: “I am committed to continuing to develop a positive culture within the Council, where employees are supported, where success is celebrated and people aspire to provide ever higher levels of public service.
“This ceremony was a celebration of the high calibre of employees, from departments across the Council, who are using their skills and knowledge to improve the lives of the residents of South Ayrshire and visitors to the area.
“I know that these employees will be an inspiration to their colleagues, and that their achievements will encourage people to want to be part of South Ayrshire Council.”
The Long Service Awards and Achievement Certificates presented in front of an audience that included invited guests of those receiving awards and elected members.
Following the presentations there was a small reception for the award recipients and their guests.
To access downloadable images of all the award recipients CLICK HERE
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Sunday, 14 September 2008
Visimetrics opens new Custom Configuration Centre at Prestwick HQ
SPECIALIST recording and storage systems manufacturer Visimetrics has announced the expansion of their Head Office site (pictured below) in Prestwick, Scotland with a 3000 square foot Custom Configuration Centre. The expansion will provide Visimetrics with dedicated facilities for system customisation as well as customer simulation and factory acceptance testing prior to project installation.
Visimetrics, manufacturer of the FASTAR Real-Time recording system, has opened the new Configuration Centre in Prestwick to satisfy the increasing demand to deliver fully customised and integrated solutions to dedicated users. As the scale and complexity of solutions being deployed by the company increases, so has the necessity to provide bespoke configurations.
Visimetrics commercial director Craig Howie said: “The new Configuration Centre has significantly increased our capability to deliver fully customised recording and storage solutions to meet the highly demanding applications of our client base. It also provides our customer support team with comprehensive knowledge of individual system configurations prior to project delivery, thereby reducing on-site installation and commissioning timescales.
Craig continued: “Visimetrics recording and storage systems are about far more than simply products. We strive to deliver the best possible solutions and service to our customers for the lifetime of their investment. Our expansion furthers our commitment to achieving this, and ensures we continue to keep the satisfaction of our customers at the forefront of all our operational activities.”
Visimetrics (UK) Ltd specialises in the development, manufacture, distribution and marketing of high-performance digital systems for CCTV and Video Surveillance. Visimetrics has gained a significant reputation for providing leading edge security solutions backed by a world class quality and service culture. For more information please visit www.visimetrics.com
Visimetrics (UK) Ltd
Scotland KA9 2TA
Telephone: +44 (0) 1292 673 770
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Office suites available to lease in Irvine town centre Ayrshire
ON BEHALF of PJ Leggate & Co, Chartered Surveyors Allison Lightbody Waddell have been instructed to lease recently refurbished office suites within the iconic Sovereign House, close to Irvine Town Centre.
Sovereign House, the former Irvine Royal Academy, has recently been refurbished and contains fifteen suites, with three suites available from 282-1,404 sq ft. The building has excellent private parking facilities and lies close to the main bus route, by-pass and railway station. Existing tenants include the Care Commission, Scottish Action for Mental Health, ANCHO and the local MSP, amongst others.
Agent Anthony Zdanowicz said: “There is good demand for offices in Irvine and North Ayrshire in general with limited DDA-compliant space available, especially in pleasant surroundings such as Sovereign House. The quality of the tenants within the building, including government and charity operators, is testament to the fact that, although traditional in style, Sovereign House is the prime office building in Irvine.”
Further information on the available suites can be obtained from the Allison Lightbody Waddell website www.alwsurveyors.co.uk or by contacting the Agents on 01292 430313.
Allison Lightbody Waddell
12 Barns Street
Ayr KA7 1XA
Contact: Anthony Zdanowicz
Tel: 01292 430313
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South Ayrshire Council seminar explains
public sector tendering process
SOUTH AYRSHIRE COUNCIL recently hosted a free Supplier Development Programme (SDP) seminar at the Horizon Hotel in Ayr to explain to small and medium-sized enterprises the process to be followed when submitting a tender to supply products and services to the public sector.
[Pictured at the SDP Seminar are (left to right) Nick Larkin, South Ayrshire Council Head of Enterprise and Property Services, Maria Weir, Intellectual Assets Centre, Jane Toye, South Ayrshire Council Enterprise Officer, Gary Robinson, Scottish Procurement Directorate, Councillor Hywel Davies, South Ayrshire Council’s Portfolio Carrier for Learning and Prosperity, Tom Young, KNOO Limited, Amy Burnett, Enterprise Scotland Europe and Calum McPhail South Ayrshire Council Business Engagement Development Officer. CLICK ON IMAGE TO VIEW / DOWNLOAD FULL-SIZE VERSION.]
The Council has recently joined the SDP, which is jointly funded by various local councils throughout Scotland, but predominantly those in the west coast, including North and East Ayrshire Council.
Councillor Hywel Davies, the Council’s Portfolio Carrier for Learning and Prosperity attended the seminar and said: “The seminar clearly explained to people how to apply to supply products and services to public sector organisations using the tendering process. Contracts secured through the tendering process can be extremely valuable to companies. I would encourage businesses to come forward, submit tenders, and if they are successful it will bring a welcome boost to their business.”
The seminar in Ayr was hosted by South Ayrshire Council and run in conjunction with North and East Ayrshire Councils.
Businesses can register with SDP for free at www.sdpscotland.co.uk and get access to public sector buying information, links to procurement portals, ‘B-link’ - a quarterly newsletter delivered to all eligible registered companies, and the opportunity to attend workshops and events organised by SDP and public sector procurement departments.
The seminar also provided an opportunity for representatives of businesses to meet, network and exchange views on the tendering process.
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